How To forum


How to help an elderly friend get on-line with TV?

by aragorn5182 / October 9, 2013 1:36 PM PDT

I'm looking for a solution to help a technologically challenged 86-year old friend be able to access her e-mail on-line using her TV. She had used Web TV for e-mail, Google searches and the like for many years and they discontinued service on Sept. 30th.

Someone gave her an old Gen 1 iPad so she could access her new e-mail account on Comcast. It's been a challenge teaching her how to use the iPad and she's not happy with the tiny screen and fonts. She also hates the on-screen keyboard as she is a skilled touch typist on a full sized keyboard.

She'd much prefer to be able to use her TV again with a full sized keyboard. She does not have nor does she want a full-blown PC. ISP is Comcast broadband.

A geek friend suggested attaching an Android 4.1 or 4.2 mini-PC to her TV to get on-line. Her TV is a flat screen HD LCD that does have an HDMI TV Input Connector. He said we'd just need to add a wireless keyboard and mouse to achieve what she wants. Said friend has not tried this, hence my query here.

Has anyone tried this or found some other alternative to get on-line using a TV without a standard PC? If so, what did you use, was it easy to operate and did you like how it worked?

KISS method is important - she only needs a simple desktop type interface with a few icons to take her to e-mail, Google, You Tube and the like. She has no need for other programs like Office or photo editing, etc.

I would be most grateful for any suggestions.

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All Answers

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Why yes I have.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 9, 2013 2:42 PM PDT
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Laptop or PC may not the best option
by aragorn5182 / October 10, 2013 8:15 AM PDT
In reply to: Why yes I have.

Thanks for your suggestion. My friend really doesn't want a PC or laptop, plus space in her apartment is an issue. I also think that a laptop is so much more than she needs or could easily learn to use. I will keep it in mind if there seems to be no other option.

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That's why I noted that ChromeBook.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 10, 2013 9:03 AM PDT

It's small and gets it done. Even with some android on a stick you have all the other trappings such as keyboard and mouse to complete the setup and then have to deal batteries for mouse and keyboard, pairing such, choosing between sticks, learning the new apps and what a mess.

Did you see this Chromebook?

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I did look @ Chromebook
by aragorn5182 / October 13, 2013 7:16 AM PDT

Thanks for your thoughts. I did look at the Chromebook - it is a nice unit for this purpose, but it's really not what my friend wants. I'm not ruling it out, I just want to explore all options before helping her make a decision.

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(NT) Then why not a Chrome/Android stick/box thing?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 13, 2013 9:32 AM PDT
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Android USB stick
by patwoman / October 10, 2013 12:31 PM PDT

There are USB or HDMI adapters that can be connected easily to a non-Smart TV. A wireless router, bluetooth wireless keyboard and mouse would be needed to complete the tranformation to an Internet enabled TV. Personally, I think the screens on the Chromebook or any Netbook, iPads
and Smart Phones are too small for elderly eyes. I have no use for any
of them.

A quick search gave me this link to a review of just one product (Android Mini PC RK3066) available:

Another similar product is FXI Cotton Candy USB stick. Another option would be an Android box, AndroidBox M6 Android 2.2 TV Set-Top Box Internet Smart TV ($129). It is small enough to put near the TV, on top of or under the cable modem or DVR or on a component (VHS, DVD player) shelf. More info at

I have no experience using these Android Sticks but have been gathering information about them and think it is a great idea for those who don't want or need the "latest & greatest" tech devices. I use a Blu-Ray DVD player to watch Netflix on my TV. It can access Vudu, YouTube, Picassa, MBL, and a few other wbesites. Does not get Hulu. This is wired
from my router. A Blu-Ray player won't get her to her e-mail. Since my DVD device is wired and I have an older (pre-Smart TV) HDTV I have been reaserching these add ons to turn my "dumb" TV into a "Semi-Smart" TV.

I don't believe the setup is as complicated as Bob mentioned. A neighbor had a similar setup with a bluetooth keyboard with a touch pad. I use wireless mouses on my laptop and my PC. With heavy daily use I get 3-6 months on my wireless mouse batteries.

I am a computer consultant who earned a Computer Informations Systems degree, 25yrs after high school so I am of the same mindset as your elderly friend ;>) I hope this helps.

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Thanks for your ideas - can wired router be hooked to TV?
by aragorn5182 / October 13, 2013 7:11 AM PDT
In reply to: Android USB stick

Thanks for your response. You've given me some good ideas to research. My friend has a Cisco router, but I believe that it's wired - I'll be at her place this week and will check. Does it matter if it's wired vs. wireless?

I'll also check out the other links you provided - you gave me some good homework to check out.


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Re: wired router to TV
by Kees_B Forum moderator / October 13, 2013 7:28 AM PDT

If the TV has an Ethernet port: yes. If it doesn't: no.
Have a look?


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Re: wired router to TV
by aragorn5182 / October 14, 2013 1:44 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: wired router to TV

Thanks for your response. Don't know if TV has an Ethernet port - will be there on Wed. and will check.

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